Written in response to the following prompt at the bitesize_bones Livejournal site: What if Brennan remembered the details of the attack in "Man in the Morgue" that ended with her injured and covered in blood and Dr. Legiere dead, while she and Booth were en route back to D.C. on the airplane?
I thought that was a really interesting idea, and couldn't resist writing a little bit about it. Very short one-shot. I hope you enjoy.
MORE THAN SORTA
She'd been hurt, and there was nothing he could do.
He tried not to let it bother him. But every time he glanced at her bruised face or blackened wrist the fury reared up in him; a fury born of fear.
She could have died. Had almost died. He'd been too far away to do anything but help clear her name after she escaped from the killer. And now she sat beside him in coach, on the first available plane back to D.C. Normally she would sleep or complete paperwork when they traveled by air. But she'd shuffled tiredly to the window seat and had been staring listlessly out the window ever since. His few attempts at conversation had been met with complete silence.
She was still hurting, and there was nothing he could do.
Knowing there was no chance she would notice, he stared his fill. He had no choice but to re-catalog every mark, each scrape and bump and mark. The sight of her wrist made his jaw clench until he carefully relaxed it and continued. Her poor hands; so damaged and battered. Still so beautiful. Knuckles white as she clenched the armrest. As she clutched the...His eyes shot to her face, registering in an instant her ghastly pallor and bloodless lips. Her eyes were full of horror and panic and revulsion. He'd seen enough, experienced enough during his nightmare of war to recognize this.
She was remembering the lost day.
As he leaned forward and whispered her name, he slid his hand around her upper arm. He had to be quick. She was shaking, tremors quickly growing in intensity, and a cold sweat had sprung up on her face. He knew he had very little time, and he drew her to her feet, banding an arm around her waist. He hadn't been quick enough to help her before. But he would be now.
His mind registered all of the stares and murmurs of the passengers and crew; he was too well-trained to not notice everything. None of it gave him a second's pause. He steered her quickly past them all, toward the first-class section, flashing his badge whenever necessary. Luck was with him; an astute, kind-hearted stewardess at the front of the plane took one look at them and cleared the way to the bigger restroom. It wouldn't have mattered if she hadn't. No one would stop him.
All the time he was conscious of the nearly epileptic shuddering consuming his partner's thin frame; her knees had buckled before they'd gone fifty feet. He held her tighter and yanked the door shut behind them, claiming what privacy he could. Claiming privacy for her. He had just enough time to lower her to the floor and crouch behind her.
"It's okay. Go ahead, Bones. It's okay now."
Leaning forward, she convulsed so hard he almost lost his grip on her waist. He held on tighter, his anger turning to rage and then to something darker, so dark it burned. His imagination ran wild, driving images of her close call through his mind like railroad spikes. What she must have endured, to survive. To get away. And now this.
She still hurt, and there was nothing he could do. No one he could kill.
She was so strong; the strongest person he knew. But everyone had a breaking point. He would never forgive himself for not having been there when she needed him. And it would never happen again. He was here now.
Again and again she retched, long past the point where her strength gave out. He stared miserably at the back of her neck, left bare by her ponytail. A scratch started behind her torn left ear, travelling up and disappearing into her hair. He'd missed that before. Mentally he added it to the list. Another mark he wasn't able to avenge.
He held her up until the last dry heave passed and then sat back, pulling her with him. She sagged weakly against his chest, lungs working furiously to get enough air. She was like a rag doll, and the difference between her current state and her normal self was striking. He shifted her closer, tucking her icy hands gently between her legs. For a time they sat in silence, her breathing gradually calming. The tremors racking her faded, finally stopping completely. Then her broken whisper reached his ear.
"Please don't tell anyone."
Unable to speak past the lump in his throat, he mutely shook his head and shushed her, tucking her more securely against him. He would never tell anyone. Her damp brow pressed tightly into his neck, and the violent urge within him finally began to fade.
He was here now.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read.